September 2019 Monthly Meeting

Sep 10 2019 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Meeting Title: 

Mass Timber for Building Envelope Performance on the path towards Zero Carbon Emissions


Aceh Community Room
Mercy Corps, 45 SW Ankeny St
Portland, OR 97204


Eric Wood


The building envelope is an integral part of architectural expression and is quickly becoming the innovative system utilized to realize carbon emission reduction goals. More and more the building envelope’s roofing, glazing, and waterproofing assemblies include Mass Timber. These assemblies are critical for ensuring durability but challenged to increase envelope performance without creating environmental barrier deficiencies.

On the path towards Zero Carbon Emissions, the implications of building envelope performance are increasingly harder to ignore, as the traditional trade off of efficiencies from the MEP systems can no longer account for the poor envelope performance. Instead, the full potential of each is needed to leverage increased carbon offsets. Mass Timber is carbon sequestering, rather than carbon intensive, and capable of replacing steel and concrete as a buildings structural frame and enclosure. Mass Timber is also far less conductive than concrete or steel, pivotal for reducing thermal bridging.

New simulation models have derived in part from the increased pressure energy codes place on envelope performance, as well as from the advances in research and increased capability of computer simulations to analyze envelope assemblies. Mass Timber’s inherent level of precision is a compelling reason for furthering digital innovation by combining simulation data with 3D digital fabrication. Structural, manufacturing, and prefabrication designers can employ new digital tools to visualize and explore innovative structural connections while ensuring strategic integration with the building structure and the major MEP building systems.

Mass Timber digital design is becoming the solution for proving constructability, predictability of schedule, and sustainability while delivering an ideal process and data necessary for compiling a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Ultimately, LCA confirms the potential for achieving zero carbon emissions when building with Mass Timber, while building with wood provides a renewed capacity for architectural aesthetic expression and envelope performance.

Eric Wood joined Morrison Hershfield as a façade specialist in 2019. He has a comprehensive understanding of performance envelope systems and techniques related to mass timber structures. Eric is a technical subject matter expert within the Façade Specialist Engineering Group having spent the past several years overseeing the commercialization of mass timber and unitized building components for commercial, residential, and multi-family construction. Eric’s experience includes a variety of wood and mass timber construction projects with a specific focus on digital fabrication, specialty engineering, and innovative connections.

Eric specializes in the prefabrication of Mass Timber to facilitate the early design and detail development rationale leading to optimized supply and constructability. He has particular experience with design-assist specialty engineering, supply-installation logistics, and infield review of complex prefabricated Mass Timber projects.